FARMINGTON — Utah is close to obtaining no-kill status at animal shelters and rescue operations across the state.
And anyone who adopts a pet, or spays or neuters their own is helping toward the cause, said Temma Martin, director of public relations for Best Friends Animal Society. The group developed the No Kill Utah Super Adoption to give hundreds of animals more exposure to would-be pet owners, moving it farther north earlier this year.
"The goal is to have 90 percent of the animals leave alive that come through the state's shelter system," Martin said. The 10 percent leeway is to account for some animals who are too sick or too behaviorally challenged to be safely placed for adoption.
As of July, 87.9 percent of the 32,672 sheltered animals in Utah have been saved. Through the two-day event this weekend, 407 animals were adopted, including 272 dogs and 135 cats.
The number of kittens available for adoption at the super adoption event on Friday and Saturday shocked animal lovers Lindsay Fuoco and Eric Castrejon, of Sugar House. They came looking for a dog to add to their dog and cat at home, but they've been checking shelters for the last three months for just the right pup.
"We want a calm girl, doesn't matter the size," Fuoco said, though Castrejon wavered a little, saying size does matter and a medium-size dog would be preferable.
"Just one that gets along with other dogs," he said. "We know what will work."
Nearly 200 dogs had been adopted through the event by Saturday afternoon, and about 70 cats had found new homes.
People who missed the super adoption, Martin said, can still find animals at shelters and rescues throughout the state.
"Certainly shelters and rescues won't be empty," she said, encouraging potential pet owners to visit petfinder.com, where a national search can elicit just the right animal.
"No individual animal group can save all the animals themselves," she said. Various animal advocacy groups throughout Utah started the No More Homeless Pets initiative years ago, aiming for Utah to become a no-kill state, saving 90 percent of all potential pets by 2019. It was the first statewide collaboration between animal interests, which often have differing policies and agendas.
Because of those efforts and the growing number of people in the state who love animals, Utah is on track to becoming the second state in the country that is considered no-kill. New Hampshire was the first.
"It's sometimes overwhelming to see all that is out there. There's still so many homeless animals," Martin said. "But every single individual who chooses adoption or who chooses to spay or neuter their pets is part of this and making a difference."
For more information, or to find a forever furball, visit nkut.org.